The top neocon of the 20th century was Woodrow
Wilson. His supposed idealism, symbolized in the slogan "Make the
world safe for democracy," resulted in untold destruction and death across
the world for many decades. His deceit and manipulation of the prewar intelligence
from Europe dragged America into an unnecessary conflict that cost the world
and us dearly. Without the disastrous Versailles Treaty, World War II could
have been averted – and the rise to power of Communists around the world might
have been halted.
We seem to never learn from our past mistakes. Today's neocons are as
idealistically misled and aggressive in remaking the Middle East as the Wilsonian
do-gooders. Even given the horrendous costs of the Iraq War and the unintended
consequences that plague us today, the neocons are eager to expand their regime-change
policy to Iran by force.
The obvious shortcomings of our regime change in and occupation of Afghanistan
are now readily apparent. The Taliban was ousted from power, but they have
regrouped and threaten the delicate stability that now exists in that country. Opium
drug production is once again a major operation, with drugs lords controlling
a huge area of the country outside Kabul. And now the real nature of the
government we created has been revealed in the case of Abdul Rahman, the Muslim
who faced a possible death sentence from the Karzai administration for converting
to Christianity. Even now that Mr. Rahman is free due to Western pressure,
his life remains in danger.
Our bombs and guns haven't changed the fact that the new puppet Afghan government
still follows Sharia law. The same loyalty to Sharia exists in Iraq, where
we're trying so hard to stabilize things. And all this is done in the name
of spreading democracy.
The sad fact is that even under the despicable rule of Saddam Hussein, Christians
were safer in Iraq than they are today. Saddam Hussein's foreign minister
was a practicing Christian. Today, thousands of Christians have fled Iraq
following our occupation, to countries like Jordan and Syria. Those Christians
who have remained in Iraq fear for their lives every day. That should tell
us something about the shortcomings of a policy that presumes to make the world
safe for democracy.
The Muslim world is not fooled by our talk about spreading democracy and values. The
evidence is too overwhelming that we do not hesitate to support dictators and
install puppet governments when it serves our interests. When democratic
elections result in the elevation of a leader or party not to our liking, we
do not hesitate for a minute to undermine that government. This hypocrisy
is rarely recognized by the American people. It's much more comfortable
to believe in slogans, to believe that we're defending our goodness and spreading
true liberty. We accept this and believe strongly in the cause, strongly
enough to sacrifice many of our sons and daughters, and stupendous amounts of
money, to spread our ideals through force.
Pointing out the lack of success is taboo. It seems of little concern
to many members of Congress that we lack both the moral right and constitutional
authority to impose our will on other nations.
The toughest task is analyzing what we do from their perspective. We should
try harder to place ourselves in the shoes of those who live in the Arab countries
where our efforts currently are concentrated. We are outraged by a Muslim
country that would even consider the death penalty for a Christian convert. But
many Muslims see all that we do as a reflection of Western Christianity, which
to them includes Europe and America. They see everything in terms of religion.
When our bombs and sanctions kill hundreds of thousands of their citizens,
they see it as an attack on their religion by Christians. To them, our
actions represent a crusade to change their culture and their political systems. They
do not see us as having noble intentions. Cynicism and realism tell them
we're involved in the Middle East to secure the oil we need.
Our occupation and influence in the holy lands of the Middle East will always
be suspect. This includes all the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Iran,
Iraq, and Afghanistan. Naively believing otherwise will guarantee continuing
hostilities in Iraq. Our meddling will remain an incitement for radicals
to strike us here at home in future terrorist attacks. All the intelligence-gathering
in the world will serve little purpose if we don't come to understand exactly
why they hate us – despite the good intentions that many Americans hold dear.